National Map Corps Celebrates One Year of Crowdsourced Mapping

April 1, 2014  - By 1 Comments
Status map showing the location and density of volunteer submitted structure edits.

Status map showing the location and density of volunteer submitted structure edits.

This April marks the one year anniversary of the transition of the USGS’s The National Map Corps (TNMCorps) from a small regional pilot project in the heart of Denver, Colorado, into a successful nationwide project. During the past year, civilian volunteers in every state have increasingly provided accurate mapping data to the National Geospatial Program’s publicly available application called The National Map.

Using crowdsourcing techniques, TNMCorps’ Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) project engages citizen scientists to collect man-made structures data including schools, hospitals, post offices, police stations and other important public buildings.

Over the past year TNMCorps has achieved the following significant milestones:

  • 1,422 – volunteers
  • 42,009 – contributions (counts each person’s edit per single point)
  • 33,698 – unique points edited (individual structures)
  • 50,696 – total number of edits (the sum of all edits made by volunteers)
  • 50  – number of states involved
  • 18 – number of volunteers who have earned more than 500 points
  • 4,691 –  state with largest number of edited points; Colorado

“This project has proven that we can count on volunteers to provide quality information to be included in authoritative government databases,” said Kari Craun, director of the National Geospatial Technical Operations Center. “The people that have contributed their time are performing a community service by ensuring key structures data are available publicly.” 

To volunteer, go to The National Map Corps project site. The project is seeking anyone with access to the Internet willing to dedicate some time editing map data. Participants can earn badges and public recognition by a series of points.

While some familiarity with the area that a volunteer chooses is helpful, volunteers don’t have to live near a particular place to contribute. The tools on TNMCorps website, along with ancillary information available on the Internet, are generally sufficient to edit a distant area.

This article is tagged with , and posted in Featured Stories, GIS News, GIS Software, Mapping
Tracy Cozzens

About the Author:

Tracy Cozzens has served as managing editor of GPS World magazine since 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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